"I'm still Jing Yang."
Most people present couldn't understand the meaning of this statement; some of them could vaguely understand it, but they were not so sure about it.
"I'd like to explain this matter for you all."
Yuan Qijing took two steps forward and swept his gaze across all the practitioners of Green Mountain and the representatives of various sects on the cloud platforms.
The roaring discussions died down gradually.
Who dared ignore the authority of the Sword Justice of Green Mountain?
Yuan Qijing landed his gaze on the cloud platform of the Center Sect in the end; actually, he gazed right at the Immortal Bai.
"When Senior Master Jing Yang had almost succeeded in his ascension, he was unexpectedly attacked by a certain shameless rascal; he was severely wounded and nearly died in his aspiration of the Dao."
Yuan Qijing pulled back his gaze and looked at Fang Jingtian, saying solemnly, "Suffering such a grave mishap, Senior Master had merely used the prepared Thunder-Soul Wood to attach his spiritual soul to the All in One Sword and came back to Chaotian as a sword body. As a result, he has those abnormal traits described by you."
Fang Jingtian snapped sharply, "He has admitted that he is the All in One himself. Big Brother, why do you still try to protect this devil man?"
Jing Jiu stared at him quietly and said, "If I'm a sword, what about your Master? Is he a piece of wood?"
For a life form, which is more important: the body or the spiritual soul?
What should a black cat that possesses the human soul be counted as: a human or a cat?
Is the demon that dwells in a human body a human or a demon?
This is a complicated issue for mortals.
In the previous dynasty, those zombie children who were possessed by the evil souls of the Underworld were protected by their mothers. They screamed, cried, and brandished chopping knives to prevent their children from being taken by the officials of the imperial court, and they didn't let their still moving "children" be burned. In the end, the whole town became a hell… simply because they couldn't come up with a proper answer for this issue.
For the Cultivation practitioners, this issue was relatively easier to resolve.
The Yuanjing, the sword ghosts, and those spirits of the deviant sects were all the living beings independent of bodies.
As such, for the Cultivation practitioners, the judgment of a human being was their spiritual soul.
According to the statement of Yuan Qijing, the Immortal Jing Yang was reborn by means of a sword, meaning that he employed the All in One Sword as his body, after he failed in his attempt of ascension. Though it felt a bit strange, all of the Cultivation sects, including the Green Mountain Sect, would admit that he was still the Immortal Jing Yang.
This was what Jing Jiu meant when he claimed that he was Jing Jiu while pointing at his temple.
Fang Jingtian had anticipated that Jing Jiu would attempt to fend off his accusations this way. He challenged with a sneer, "However, I'd like to know whether the person sitting in the chair is the All in One Sword possessed by Senior Master Jing Yang or the spiritual soul of Senior Master Jing Yang possessed by the All in One Sword."
This was the key point of the issue, and it was also the hardest to make a judgment on.
The All in One was the principal sword of Green Mountain. It had been missing for a couple of hundred years. Nobody could tell what it would look like when it turned into a devil; and it was hard to say if it would take on the appearance of Jing Jiu.
If Jing Jiu were the All in One Sword that possessed the spiritual soul of the Immortal Jing Yang, it was only natural that he would inherit all the memories and talent in Cultivation of the Immortal Jing Yang. It was impossible to separate Jing Jiu from the Immortal Jing Yang. No tests and debates could resolve this issue. This was an unsolvable dilemma as long as Jing Jiu wouldn't admit anything.
"That's right! Now that nobody knows whether it's the former or the latter, we can't just place our faith in your words."
Sese couldn't stand it any longer and came out from behind Chen Xueqiao, yelling at Fang Jingtian, "What is the All in One Sword? I haven't even heard of it. Who has seen it before?!"
"It's right that I haven't seen the All in One. And I believe that Big Brother and Second Big Brother Liu Ci have never seen it either. That is why Green Mountain is deceived by him so easily."
Fang Jingtian patted on the wheelchair a few times before saying, "Fortunately, we have someone on Green Mountain who had seen that sword devil."
Everybody's gaze fell on the skinny old man in the wheelchair.
They had been guessing the identity of this skinny old man from the start
They wondered why this person on the verge of burning out all of his life energy was pushed to the peak top by Fang Jingtian.
However, they didn't have time to think about this issue as so much shocking information had been revealed one after another.
"My dear friends, this is Grandmaster Tai Lu of Mochen Peak," said Fang Jingtian.
Hearing the name of the Grandmaster Tai Lu, a majority of the crowd had no response, since they had never heard of this name.
Some of them realized that this person had a higher status than the Immortal Taiping and the Immortal Jing Yang since Fang Jingtian called him "Grandmaster".
The likes of the Immortal Bai, the Young Zen Master, and the Chief Nun of the Water-Moon Nunnery had of course heard of the name Tai Lu, and they also remembered that he had disappeared on Mochen Peak on Green Mountain. The expression on their faces suddenly changed slightly, as they wondered how he was still alive since he was much older than the Immortal Taiping. It was something difficult to fathom.
The news spread faster than the speed of the Thoughtless Sword. The Cultivation practitioners around Tianguang Peak soon had learned of the background of the Grandmaster Tai Lu. An uproar broke out.
"It's unbelievable that the Green Mountain Sect has someone on it with such a high status. How could he live so long?" Xiang Wanshu commented in a trembling voice.
The Immortal Bai looked at the scene with a nonchalant expression, as if she were watching a stage show.
Back when she stood in front of the tomb of the Great Grandmaster De in the cemetery by Morning Lake, the Immortal Bai had already predicted this event.
But she didn't expect Tai Lu to be still alive. The plot designed by the Immortal Taiping was truly exhilarating.
Bai Zao lowered her head again, looking feebler. She didn't want others to see her eyes and figure out her thoughts.
Sitting in the wheelchair and looking at Jing Jiu in the distant hut, Tai Lu said casually, "All in One, long time no see."
The tone in his voice sounded casual, but the expression in his eyes was rather complicated.
It contained both a lethal intent and regret.
And it also indicated mockery and appreciation.
His voice sounded as aged and frail as his body.
It seemed as if the words uttered by him would dissipate into thin air, in the same way his skinny body seemed to.
Since nobody had seen what the sword devil of the All in One looked like, Fang Jingtian couldn't prove that Jing Jiu was not Jing Yang no matter how much evidence he presented.
But, Tai Lu had lived on Green Mountain long enough to witness the sword.
What he said would be the most convincing evidence.
Jing Jiu knew that Senior Master Tai Lu had seen the All in One Sword; he must have seen it on the night when his Big Brother forced the All in One onto Mochen Peak.
And yet, it was inconsequential. The important part was that nobody on Green Mountain was currently older than him, and no one could doubt what he said.
It was the same as nobody being able to determine whether he was Jing Jiu or the All in One.
"Long time no see, Senior Master."
Everybody could tell that he spoke as Jing Yang.
"Sword Devil, do you still intend to deceive everybody?"
The aged eyes of Tai Lu revealed a hint of mockery.
Jing Jiu perceived his intention clearly, which is that he would die today no matter if he were Jing Yang or the All in One.
The debt of bloodbath on Mochen Peak had to be repaid sooner or later.
The wind and snow suddenly enshrouded the peak.
The Three-Foot Sword leapt up into the air, pointing toward the wheelchair.
Yuan Qijing said to Fang Jingtian sternly, "Young Brother, you've crossed the line."
The Green Mountain Sect had been under the control of Shangde Peak branch since the Immortal Dao Yuan and the Immortal Cheng Zhou; but the inheritance had been interrupted by the masters of Mochen Peak until six hundred years ago when the Immortal Taiping, the Immortal Jing Yang, Liu Ci, Yuan Qijing, and the two principal guards, the Night Howler and the Dark Phoenix, worked together to reclaim the traditional inheritance.
The Immortal Tai Lu was the most talented swordsman on Mochen Peak at the time. He would rather die fighting than surrender to them. He was eventually locked in the Sword Jail by the Immortal Taiping.
The fact that Fang Jingtian, as the disciple of Shangde Peak and the third personal disciple of the Immortal Taiping, released Tai Lu from the Sword Jail could be regarded as betraying the sect.
Leaning against the wheelchair, Tai Lu said to Yuan Qijing with a sneer, "You, a junior, have been guarding me for hundreds of years. Now that I'm about to die, you still won't let me speak. You have to keep this in mind, which is that I'm still your grandmaster since your Master didn't expel me from the mountain gate."
"Though the Grandmaster Tai Lu was guilty back then, he is still our grandmaster. Why can't we believe his words?"
Fang Jingtian went on while staring at Yuan Qijing, "In my opinion, letting a sword devil be the sect master of Green Mountain is something intolerable for the disciples of Green Mountain."
As the wind and snow fell down, the Three-Foot Sword appeared. The temperature dropped dramatically on the peak top, and the atmosphere grew intense as well.
Yet, Zhao Layue was well aware that Yuan Qijing wouldn't do anything, because Fang Jingtian had already entered the Heavenly Arrival State.
After the Immortal Liu Ci turned into the "spring rain", the Green Mountain Sect only had one figure in the Heavenly Arrival State left. Though the Center Sect's offense was thwarted by Jing Jiu's clever maneuver at the Fruit Formation Temple and the situation was eased up slightly, this would not last forever. Fang Jingtian was too important to the Green Mountain Sect to be discounted right now.
Now that Fang Jingtian had an important role to play at the Green Mountain Sect, it would be hard to press charges against him.
And it seemed that Fang Jingtian had adequate reason to bring out Tai Lu. It was because he was doing it to prevent a devil man from becoming the sect master of Green Mountain and humiliating the disciples of Green Mountain many generations from now.
If Fang Jingtian couldn't be persecuted, Tai Lu would be able to speak; and Jing Jiu wouldn't be able to get away from the suspicion of being a sword devil.
How could this situation be resolved?
Zhao Layue looked at the rocky ground on top of the cliff emotionlessly, as she thought to herself that that old man had to die.
If he died, then he wouldn't be able to provide further evidence.
More disciples of Green Mountain chose to believe in what Fang Jingtian said and thought Jing Jiu was a sword devil.
To say nothing of the elders and disciples of Xilai Peak and Gu Han and the disciples of Liangwang Peak, even Guo Nanshan began to hesitate about which stance he should take.
During this critical moment, nobody would attack Tai Lu, not even Zhuo Rusui, who had eaten hotpot twice on Shenmo Peak, would be willing to do so.
As the Sword Justice of Green Mountain, Yuan Qijing wouldn't kill Tai Lu at such a critical moment, because he didn't want to take responsibility.
Jing Jiu couldn't kill Tai Lu himself; it was because his action would be considered that of silencing a witness.
The only option was for her to kill Tai Lu herself; but she was only in the upper state of the Free Travel, so how could she kill a master who was three generations ahead of her?
Though Tai Lu was very old and physically weak right now and could be said to be near his death, he was nevertheless a powerful swordsman in a very high Cultivation state; how could she kill him?
Moreover, Fang Jingtian kept both of his hands on the wheelchair the entire time; and he was a new figure in the Heavenly Arrival State.
She must throw the cat out first.
Zhao Layue was considering her options while looking at the accumulated water and snowflakes on the green stone slabs on the ground.
Then, she summoned the sword source secretly as she was to employ the seventh move of the Nine-Deaths Sword style, a strike which was the most powerful, exhausting and risky.
When Fang Jingtian claimed that Jing Jiu was not Jing Yang but a sword devil, Gu Qing lifted up his head.
He looked at Jing Jiu in the hut with a pale face. He opened his mouth slightly, a baffled expression showing in his eyes. He looked like a child who was experiencing tremendous mental shock.
Some people noticed his changed expression and couldn't help but feel sentimental and sympathetic toward him, thinking about how Gu Qing, who had always had his emotions in check, became troubled and agitated today.
Yet, nobody knew that Gu Qing was just pretending to have a mental breakdown.
Despite his nervous and baffled expression, Gu Qing had a calm and cool mind at the moment and his heart was beating normally and evenly.
Gu Qing had pondered about more issues than Zhao Layue.
How could Fang Jingtian bring the Immortal Tai Lu out of the Sword Jail?
Why didn't the Master Night Howler stop them? What was the Night Howler's attitude?
Did it mean that Senior Master Yuan Qijing could possibly be persuaded by Fang Jingtian and believe that his Master was indeed a sword devil?
How could he resolve the situation?
The Immortal Tai Lu must die.
He couldn't let his Master do it himself.
However, he was only in the initial state of the Free Travel; how could he kill the great grandmaster?
He was able to break through the state when he was at the Icy Wind and Violent Sea a few years ago; but he suppressed it at the time. It should happen today then, he thought.
He would be able to trigger a powerful reaction of the spiritual energy of heaven and earth the moment he broke through the state. At that time his first strike would be many times more powerful than usual. Even though the striker might be in danger of being attacked by its backfire, he was determined to take the risk and give it a try.
And he believed that Zhao Layue would definitely strike, and so would that guy.
But, Senior Master stood right behind the wheelchair…Well, they had no choice but to ask the Master White Ghost to take some action that day then.
Looking at the white cat on Jing Jiu's chest, Gu Qing quickly calculated and predicted all the details one more time; he believed that they had a good chance to succeed.
It was time for them to carry out the action.
As Gu Qing was thinking of all this, he had already snuck to the back of the small hut undetected.
Please go to https://www.readlightnovel.cc/The-Path-Toward-Heaven/
to read the latest chapters for free